'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'

Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'


QuoTW This was the week when IBM told a bunch of staffers that their skills weren’t up to scratch. To sort the problem out, Big Blue says it’s going to force them into mandatory training and make them give up ten per cent of their salaries for the privilege.

In an email to workers, IBM said:

A recent assessment revealed that some GTS [Global Technology Services] US SO executives, managers and employees have not kept pace with acquiring the skills and expertise needed to address changing client needs, technology and market requirements.

You have been identified as one of these employees.

The required training will cover cloud, analytics, mobile, security and social, which IBM shortens to CAMMS. The acronym was swiftly rearranged by trade union site Alliance@IBM, which says the whole thing is just a poorly disguised cost cutting measure. One commenter said:

Friday when I was told I was "not affected" by the SCAMS action, I was also told I would get to pick up my SCAMSed colleagues' work. And no, I'm not getting their 10 per cent pay cut added to my pay. So ALL of the US GTS employees are getting the CAMMS-shaft, one way or the other.

While another was confused about their need for training:

I have received recognition this year for sharing my expertise and offered to be a mentor when asked. So just where are my skills lacking?

Dissenters who don’t want to endure the mandatory programme are being invited to look elsewhere in IBM for opportunities that match their skillset – or they can take the third option outlined by IBM spokesman Trink Guarino to the New York Times:

This involves a very small number of people and we're working to preserve their jobs.

Also this week, media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp wrote to European competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia protesting that the authority had not done enough to stamp on Google’s search market dominance. The multinational’s chief exec Robert Thomson wrote to the EC last week, but the firm pointed the letter out in a press statement this week, after it went unnoticed.

Thomson wrote:

Your decision to reconsider Google’s settlement offer comes at a crucial moment in the history of the free flow of information and of a healthy media in Europe and beyond.

Google must do more to ensure that rights are respected and that its powerful search platform is not abused to eliminate competition.

He went on in a rather more forceful manner, accusing the Choc Factory of ignoring unlawful and unsavoury searches and an unwillingness to respect property rights:

The shining vision of Google’s founders has been replaced by a cynical management, which offers advertisers impressively precise data about users and content usage, but has been a platform for piracy and the spread of malicious networks, all while driving more traffic and online advertising dollars to Google.

He claimed:

"Internet idealism" is used by Google and certain other digital companies as an injudicious justification for inappropriate business practices.

Over at Apple, Tim Cook has altered the firm’s privacy policy and used the event to talk up how good and righteous the fruity firm is compared to all those other nasty tech outfits:

We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t "monetise" the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you.

Of course, Apple does gather data on you, but that information is just for product improvement. Well, apart from iAd. But at least that service doesn’t get its data from Health Kit, Home Kit, Maps, Siri, iMessage, calls or iCloud stuff.

Cook also claimed that the company had never allowed government spooks in through the back door:

We have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.

eBay has enraged sellers by dropping offline yet again, with another inexplicable technical blunder taking the tat bazaar out. Irate users took to Twitter (naturally) to complain:

That latter commentator turned out to be most prophetic, as eBay did come forward later in the week to say that seller fees would be refunded after the seven hour outage. eBay's global customer experience bod Steve Boehm said in an email to sellers:

We know how much it matters to your livelihood that eBay functions properly and that lately our performance hasn't met your expectations. We apologise for this, and we're taking steps to make sure that we exceed your expectations going forward.

Sellers were told that they would get their fees back for certain kinds of listings that ended between 11.15am and 8.45pm BST on Sunday. But Reg reader Jim said the online marketplace hadn’t gone far enough:

No mention if this is the listing fee (pittance), or the final value fee (loadsa money), or both.

And finally, self-proclaimed tech guru and celebrated media personality Stephen Fry has once more taken to the pages of a national publication to proclaim his undying love for all things Apple. The QI presenter penned a missive for the pages of the Graun, detailing just how “exquisite” the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are to him.

So thrilled is fanboi Fry with his new gadgets, as he told his “darling” readers, that he threw his drink all over new Apple designer Marc Newson at the launch:

The matchless design and innovation team led by Jony Ive – who has headhunted to Apple the brilliant Australian designer Marc Newson (over whom at the launch I spilled some horrible green wheatgrass and spirulina drink that would otherwise have gone all over P Diddy) – has produced two devices of absolutely exquisite dimensions, heft and feel. I have played with both for a week and cannot decide which I would keep.

In what can only be an incredible coincidence, The Reg's own Stephen Pie was also quite enamoured of the new iGear:

With the iPhone, Apple wasn't first either, but the heartbreakingly dead staggering genius Steve Jobs - the most important man ever to live on Earth, as I was the only one with the courage to point out - wanted to wait until he could achieve perfection. People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived and how utterly, superbly different it was to the rushed efforts of those who had gone before. It was free of defects: in fact it was free of everything. It had no 3G, no GPS, no multitasking, no copy-paste, no card slot, no swappable battery, no file system access, and - this was the totally unique Apple differentiator - absolutely no way of installing software on it without paying money to Apple, which is only right and proper after all they did make the phone darling. Being worst isn't the point, being last is!

Indeed. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Google has more reasons why it doesn't like antitrust law that affects Google
    It'll ruin Gmail, claims web ads giant

    Google has a fresh list of reasons why it opposes tech antitrust legislation making its way through Congress but, like others who've expressed discontent, the ad giant's complaints leave out mention of portions of the proposed law that address said gripes.

    The law bill in question is S.2992, the Senate version of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA), which is closer than ever to getting votes in the House and Senate, which could see it advanced to President Biden's desk.

    AICOA prohibits tech companies above a certain size from favoring their own products and services over their competitors. It applies to businesses considered "critical trading partners," meaning the company controls access to a platform through which business users reach their customers. Google, Apple, Amazon, and Meta in one way or another seemingly fall under the scope of this US legislation. 

    Continue reading
  • IBM ordered to hand over ex-CEO emails plotting cuts in older workers
    Infamous 'Dinobabies' memo comes back to haunt Big Blue again

    Updated In one of the many ongoing age discrimination lawsuits against IBM, Big Blue has been ordered to produce internal emails in which former CEO Ginny Rometty and former SVP of Human Resources Diane Gherson discuss efforts to get rid of older employees.

    IBM as recently as February denied any "systemic age discrimination" ever occurred at the mainframe giant, despite the August 31, 2020 finding by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that "top-down messaging from IBM’s highest ranks directing managers to engage in an aggressive approach to significantly reduce the headcount of older workers to make room for Early Professional Hires."

    The court's description of these emails between executives further contradicts IBM's assertions and supports claims of age discrimination raised by a 2018 report from ProPublica and Mother Jones, by other sources prior to that, and by numerous lawsuits.

    Continue reading
  • I was fired for blowing the whistle on cult's status in Google unit, says contractor
    The internet giant, a doomsday religious sect, and a lawsuit in Silicon Valley

    A former Google video producer has sued the internet giant alleging he was unfairly fired for blowing the whistle on a religious sect that had all but taken over his business unit. 

    The lawsuit demands a jury trial and financial restitution for "religious discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation and related causes of action." It alleges Peter Lubbers, director of the Google Developer Studio (GDS) film group in which 34-year-old plaintiff Kevin Lloyd worked, is not only a member of The Fellowship of Friends, the exec was influential in growing the studio into a team that, in essence, funneled money back to the fellowship.

    In his complaint [PDF], filed in a California Superior Court in Silicon Valley, Lloyd lays down a case that he was fired for expressing concerns over the fellowship's influence at Google, specifically in the GDS. When these concerns were reported to a manager, Lloyd was told to drop the issue or risk losing his job, it is claimed. 

    Continue reading
  • End of the road for biz living off free G Suite legacy edition
    Firms accustomed to freebies miffed that web giant's largess doesn't last

    After offering free G Suite apps for more than a decade, Google next week plans to discontinue its legacy service – which hasn't been offered to new customers since 2012 – and force business users to transition to a paid subscription for the service's successor, Google Workspace.

    "For businesses, the G Suite legacy free edition will no longer be available after June 27, 2022," Google explains in its support document. "Your account will be automatically transitioned to a paid Google Workspace subscription where we continue to deliver new capabilities to help businesses transform the way they work."

    Small business owners who have relied on the G Suite legacy free edition aren't thrilled that they will have to pay for Workspace or migrate to a rival like Microsoft, which happens to be actively encouraging defectors. As noted by The New York Times on Monday, the approaching deadline has elicited complaints from small firms that bet on Google's cloud productivity apps in the 2006-2012 period and have enjoyed the lack of billing since then.

    Continue reading
  • It's a crime to use Google Analytics, watchdog tells Italian website
    Because data flows into the United States, not because of that user interface

    Updated Another kicking has been leveled at American tech giants by EU regulators as Italy's data protection authority ruled against transfers of data to the US using Google Analytics.

    The ruling by the Garante was made yesterday as regulators took a close look at a website operator who was using Google Analytics. The regulators found that the site collected all manner of information.

    So far, so normal. Google Analytics is commonly used by websites to analyze traffic. Others exist, but Google's is very much the big beast. It also performs its analysis in the USA, which is what EU regulators have taken exception to. The place is, after all, "a country without an adequate level of data protection," according to the regulator.

    Continue reading
  • Makers of ad blockers and browser privacy extensions fear the end is near
    Overhaul of Chrome add-ons set for January, Google says it's for all our own good

    Special report Seven months from now, assuming all goes as planned, Google Chrome will drop support for its legacy extension platform, known as Manifest v2 (Mv2). This is significant if you use a browser extension to, for instance, filter out certain kinds of content and safeguard your privacy.

    Google's Chrome Web Store is supposed to stop accepting Mv2 extension submissions sometime this month. As of January 2023, Chrome will stop running extensions created using Mv2, with limited exceptions for enterprise versions of Chrome operating under corporate policy. And by June 2023, even enterprise versions of Chrome will prevent Mv2 extensions from running.

    The anticipated result will be fewer extensions and less innovation, according to several extension developers.

    Continue reading
  • Google recasts Anthos with hitch to AWS Outposts
    If at first you don't succeed, change names and try again

    Google Cloud's Anthos on-prem platform is getting a new home under the search giant’s recently announced Google Distributed Cloud (GDC) portfolio, where it will live on as a software-based competitor to AWS Outposts and Microsoft Azure Stack.

    Introduced last fall, GDC enables customers to deploy managed servers and software in private datacenters and at communication service provider or on the edge.

    Its latest update sees Google reposition Anthos on-prem, introduced back in 2020, as the bring-your-own-server edition of GDC. Using the service, customers can extend Google Cloud-style management and services to applications running on-prem.

    Continue reading
  • UK competition watchdog seeks to make mobile browsers, cloud gaming and payments more competitive
    Investigation could help end WebKit monoculture on iOS devices

    The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday said it intends to launch an investigation of Apple's and Google's market power with respect to mobile browsers and cloud gaming, and to take enforcement action against Google for its app store payment practices.

    "When it comes to how people use mobile phones, Apple and Google hold all the cards," said Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive of the CMA, in a statement. "As good as many of their services and products are, their strong grip on mobile ecosystems allows them to shut out competitors, holding back the British tech sector and limiting choice."

    The decision to open a formal investigation follows the CMA's year-long study of the mobile ecosystem. The competition watchdog's findings have been published in a report that concludes Apple and Google have a duopoly that limits competition.

    Continue reading
  • Google offers $118m to settle gender discrimination lawsuit
    Don't even think about putting LaMDA on the compensation committee

    Google has promised to cough up $118 million to settle a years-long gender-discrimination class-action lawsuit that alleged the internet giant unfairly pays men more than women.

    The case, launched in 2017, was led by three women, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, and Kelli Wisuri, who filed a complaint alleging the search giant hires women in lower-paying positions compared to men despite them having the same qualifications. Female staff are also less likely to get promoted, it was claimed.

    Gender discrimination also exists within the same job tier, too, the complaint stated. Google was accused of paying women less than their male counterparts despite them doing the same work. The lawsuit was later upgraded to a class-action status when a fourth woman, Heidi Lamar, joined as a plaintiff. The class is said to cover more than 15,000 people.

    Continue reading
  • Google: How we tackled this iPhone, Android spyware
    Watching people's every move and collecting their info – not on our watch, says web ads giant

    Spyware developed by Italian firm RCS Labs was used to target cellphones in Italy and Kazakhstan — in some cases with an assist from the victims' cellular network providers, according to Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG).

    RCS Labs customers include law-enforcement agencies worldwide, according to the vendor's website. It's one of more than 30 outfits Google researchers are tracking that sell exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed groups. And we're told this particular spyware runs on both iOS and Android phones.

    We understand this particular campaign of espionage involving RCS's spyware was documented last week by Lookout, which dubbed the toolkit "Hermit." We're told it is potentially capable of spying on the victims' chat apps, camera and microphone, contacts book and calendars, browser, and clipboard, and beam that info back to base. It's said that Italian authorities have used this tool in tackling corruption cases, and the Kazakh government has had its hands on it, too.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022